Yesterday we had a lead teacher meeting with my principal at my school and I am very pleased to now be in teacher mode once again. I think a big part of my daycare hangup with Toph was that I hadn't yet entered into teacher mode. I was staying at home those first few days of daycare, thus making it harder for me and making the guilt triple. I went in for the meeting and while Toph was never far from my thoughts, I was able to put my thinking cap on and enter into teacher mode. It made the guilt almost completely go away and I really enjoyed talking about our school year. My profession never ceases to challenge and stimulate me; it's always evolving and requiring me to think outside the box. Not one school year will ever look the same and that's the beauty of it. I truly think being a working mom, especially a teacher mom, will make me be a better mom.
Throughout my pregnancy, I harbored a secret fear. I feared that once I returned to school as a mother, I would resent my students, seeing them as the reason I wasn't spending time with my son. It scared me to think I could feel that way about those shining faces. This is a big thing for me to admit, but I'm able to because I know it was for naught.
Instead of resenting my students, I will see them through a different lens. I have my mom glasses on and they will never come off. I will look at my students and know how their parents view them; these little treasures that grew in their mothers' womb, who were rocked and changed and cooed and sucked on pacifiers. I will look at them and know they are the center of their parents' universe. For the most part, their parents want nothing but the absolute best for their babies and most of them are doing the very best they can, just like me.
I am not naive enough to believe that all of my students are as well loved as my Toph is; I teach in an inner city school and my students and their parents face hardships that I never could have imagined during my childhood. Some of my students don't receive the love, affection, attention and guidance that they should, for a variety of reasons. However, just because they may not receive the love and support that my baby will inevitably receive at home, there is no reason for them not to receive the same level of education that my baby will receive at school. Every little idea I have for my class, from desk arrangement to a place value game, I now picture my guy doing the same thing with his third grade teacher in eight short years. I think to myself, would I want my child doing this?
In the words of my boss, if it doesn't meet the standards I would have for my own child, then it shouldn't meet the standards I have for my students. My students are all someone's baby and everyone wants the best for their baby, no matter what age.
So begins my fifth year of teaching, first one as a mom. I've got my mom glasses on and I'm ready to work.